Lincolnshire County Council approves fire service cuts

Cuts to the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue service, including reductions to the number of firefighters across shifts, have been unanimously approved by Lincolnshire County Council.

The annual Integrated Risk Management Planning consultation and supporting documents were addressed at a meeting on April 8.

The council is required to identify an additional £90 million of savings by 2018/19.

The changes to the fire and rescue service are expected to shave £665,000 off its current annual budget of £1.23 million.

Under the changes, Lincoln would have two fire engines available 24 hours a day, but the response time of the Lincoln North fire engine at night would be longer. The number of firefighters across shifts will be reduced from five to four.

Around 46% of the target will be met from changes to the senior management structure, fire control and support staffing.

Members of the public were previously asked to give their views on six different proposals, aimed at making savings while improving service delivery and response times.

After a 12-week consultation, which received 142 response forms and five written representations, the council’s executive agreed to implement alternative crewing arrangements and response standards.

Of those who took part in the consultation, 39% said that none of the options put forward were acceptable and most of those remaining selected a combination of the proposals.

The executive were asked to approve a combination of changes to the crewing system at Lincoln North fire station, reducing the number of station managers and reducing firefighter staffing levels.

A report compiled ahead of the meeting outlined that while there was a 3% reduction on primary fires last year, 428 people were killed or seriously injured in Lincolnshire roads – an increase on the previous year.

Fire engines across the Lincolnshire service have been unable to meet dwelling fire response targets for the last six years. In response, the option of resetting the target to a more “realistic” level was considered.

In opposition to the proposals, campaigners launched the Defend Our Fire Services group and petition, which eventually gathered 1,500 signatures.

The group also hosted a number of protests, including a demonstration in the hour before the final decision was made on April 8.